The Great Gatsby

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Through his portrayal of the events in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald condemns the lack of morality and spirituality during the 1920's. He portrays the 1920's as a time where society has substituted materialism and instant gratification in place of structure and spirituality. He emphasizes the society's moral blindness in many characters, including those who have money and those who lack it. The community, as a whole, refuses to condemn unlawful activity and wrongdoings. By means of the billboard in the valley of ashes, he connotes the possibility of paganism as well. Tom Buchanan, Daisy's "hulking brute of a husband", epitomizes a lack of morality. He believes in racial superiority and that everything good in society has resulted from the work of Nordics. He believes that his "old money" supersedes both "new money" and no money. He exercises his believed superiority over the lower class in several situations, such as when he breaks Myrtle's nose as well as during his conversation with the man selling puppies, saying "Here's your money. Go and buy ten more puppies with it." He, to a lesser degree, condemns new money as well, mainly because he doesn't believe that they've earned the money fairly and he hates that they've come from a lower class.

Tom's affair with Myrtle Wilson emphasizes both moral blindness and the refusal to condemn wrongdoings. Tom willingly admits his affair, yet Daisy has come to ignore it, at least outwardly. Tom thinks that Daisy will understand his affairs, believing "Once and a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time." The fact that Daisy refuses to condemn Tom's actions adds to Fitzgerald's portrayal of society's view on sin during the 1920's. Because society during the 1920's doesn't hold marriage in a sacrosanct position, they tolerate sins such as infidelity and lust.

Myrtle Wilson uses her affair with Tom as an attempt to achieve an upper-class status....
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